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2009 Big 12 Football Previews: Colorado Buffaloes

 

Colorado_medium

 

2008 High

2008 Low

17-14 OT Win Over West Virginia 58-0 Loss At Missouri

 

We’re going to start our conference previews by looking at the teams that are not on Oklahoma’s 2009 football schedule. These teams include Colorado, Iowa State and Missouri – all three of which I’d rather see on the schedule than Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska

 

Offense

Dreadful doesn’t quite describe Colorado’s attempt to run the no huddle offense last season. The Buffs were last in the in points scored (20.2) and yards (318.5) per game. Part of the problem for Colorado’s offensive woes could have been instability at both the quarterback and running back positions. Cody Hawkins eventually gave way to Tyler Hansen and highly touted running back Darrell Scott didn’t live up to the hype.

 

 

Offense Per Game Rank
Scoring

20.2

100

Rushing

124.5 ypg

86

Passing

194 ypg

81

Total

318.5ypg

95

In `09 the Buffaloes are going to rely heavily on their stable of running backs and hope that opens up the passing game. A pleasant surprise last season was the emergence of running back Rodney Stewart who led the team in rushing. The duo of Stewart/Scott could turnout to be on of the better running back duos in the North. Markques Simas in now eligible to play and will be relied upon to take some attention away from Scotty McKnight. However, depth behind those guys is questionable at best.

The key to Colorado’s offense is going to be the same as just about every other offense in the country, offensive line play and the triggerman. The Buffaloes offensive line is very young. Junior left tackle Nate Solder is the oldest starter penciled in on the line and because sophomore guard Ethan Adkins is edging out senior Devin Head it looks like Solder could be joined by three sophomores and a freshman on the line. Cody Hawkins threw 17 touchdowns to 10 interceptions last season and will need to step up a notch in `09 as a junior. He’s not real fleet of foot which is a big problem when there are leaks in the offensive line. More than anything else his decision making abilities will need to improve in order to lead the Buffs to success.

Defense

 

Defense Per Game Rank
Scoring

29.3

86

Rushing

166.3

86

Passing

215.3

72

Total

381.6

78

 

The strength of Colorado’s defense last season was the line but with three starters gone due to graduation they are now turning to their linebackers. Switching to a 3-4 scheme the Buffaloes are going to depend on a fast and rugged group of linebackers to anchor the defense. Jeff Smart and Shaun Mohler led the team in tackles last season and will provide senior leadership along with Marcus Burton. B.J. Beatty may be one of the best pass rushing linebackers in the conference.  

On the corners the Buffaloes are strong. Jimmy Smith is their best corner and is a legitimate shutdown guy. Opposite of him Ben Burney is pushing his way back into a starting spot after missing last season due to injury. Strong safety Patrick Mahnke and Anthony Perkins were thrust into starting positions last season due to injuries and more than held their own. As sophomores they’ll be seasoned starters in 2009 rounding out a solid defensive secondary.     

 

RETURNING LEADERS
Passing Cody Hawkins, 183/320-1,892-10, 17 TDs
Rushing Rodney Stewart, 132/622, 2 TDs
Receiving Scotty McKnight 46/519, 5 TDs
Tackles Jeff Smart, 118
Sacks Marquez Herrod, 4